Why the White House is refusing to negotiate on the debt ceiling

The White House is refusing to negotiate with Republicans on raising the debt ceiling, a risky position that Democrats think is a political winner, but that also reflects

their scars from previous fights. Taking the position that you won’t negotiate will allow Republicans to argue that a refusal by the White House to discuss spending cuts

amid a rising debt crisis means President Biden is not acting in the public’s interest.  But White House officials and Democrats believe the have much more leverage if

they do not negotiate. Here’s what’s behind the White House strategy.   There’s a precedent  One major reason the White House is confident in its

position is that there have been numerous clean debt ceiling hikes in recent years, including when Donald Trump was president and Republicans controlled Congress. 

Congress has voted to increase the debt limit more than a dozen times in the last 25 years – including three times during the Trump administration. In 2021, after

Biden took office, Senate Republicans initially balked at support for a clean increase of the debt ceiling.   But after months of talks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch

McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) eventually brokered a deal where enough Republicans joined Democrats to approve a one-time exemption to the

filibuster on raising the debt ceiling. No Republicans backed the actual vote to raise the limit, which passed 50-49. The House, then controlled by Democrats, also

passed the debt ceiling hike.